Grilled Buffalo Chicken Wings

published Jul 16, 2022
summer
Grilled Chicken Wings Recipe

Cornstarch makes these grilled wings crispy before they're tossed in a traditional buffalo wing sauce.

Serves6

Prep5 minutes to 10 minutes

Cook25 minutes

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Photograph of grilled chicken wings covered in buffalo sauce on a serving plate with carrot sticks, celery sticks, and blue cheese dressing.
Credit: Kelli Foster

Wings are one of my favorite parts from the chicken — I could easily eat a pile as a meal. Deep-fried wings are wonderful, but they’re a pain to make. Grilling, on the other hand, is one of the easiest ways to cook off a lot of chicken wings. And I discovered one pantry ingredient that makes the skin even crispier.

While tossing wings with baking powder is a great technique for baked wings, for grilled wings I took inspiration from Korean fried chicken and used cornstarch. Tossing the wings in a very thin coating of cornstarch helps dry out the skin to crisp up nicely on the grill grates — so much so that the skin will maintain its crispiness even after the wings are tossed in the Buffalo sauce.

Credit: Kelli Foster

How to Grill Chicken Wings

  • Prep and season the chicken wings. If the wings you purchase are not party wings but are whole, separate the drumettes from the flats and save the wing tips for another use. Toss the chicken wings in cornstarch, salt, garlic powder, and pepper.
  • Grill the wings. Grill the wings over medium heat, flipping them every 5 minutes, until the skin is crisp and charred in spots, and the meat is cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Make the sauce. Make the sauce by combining melted butter, Frank’s RedHot Sauce, garlic powder, and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Toss the wings in sauce. Toss the wings in the sauce until coated right before serving.

Do You Put Sauce on Wings Before or After Grilling?

For this recipe, the wings are grilled without sauce and then tossed in the sauce right after. However, you can always brush the wings with sauce a few times toward the end of grilling time if you want to make a stickier coating on the wing.

How Do You Know When Chicken Wings Are Done on the Grill?

Chicken wings are ready when the meatiest parts, usually the drumettes, register at least 165ºF on an instant-read thermometer. If you don’t have a thermometer, cut a small slit into that same part: The juices should run clear and the meat should be opaque with no pink.

Grilled Chicken Wings Recipe

Cornstarch makes these grilled wings crispy before they're tossed in a traditional buffalo wing sauce.

Prep time 5 minutes to 10 minutes

Cook time 25 minutes

Serves 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the chicken:

  • 3 pounds

    chicken wings, preferably party wings

  • 2 teaspoons

    cornstarch

  • 2 teaspoons

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    garlic powder or garlic granules

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

For the buffalo sauce and serving:

  • 4 tablespoons

    (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup

    Frank’s Original RedHot Sauce (not wing sauce)

  • 1 teaspoon

    Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    garlic powder or garlic granules

  • For serving: blue cheese dressing, carrot sticks, and celery sticks

Instructions

Make the chicken:

  1. Heat an outdoor grill for direct, medium heat (about 350ºF). Meanwhile, prepare 3 pounds chicken wings. If the wings are whole and not yet separated, use a chef’s knife or kitchen shears to cut through the first joint of the wing and remove the wing tip. Discard or freeze the wing tips for stock. Cut through the second joint to separate the wing into flat and drumette portions.

  2. Pat the wings dry with paper towels and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons cornstarch, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or garlic granules, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Toss with your hands to evenly coat the wings until there are no dry patches of cornstarch.

  3. When the grill is ready, scrape the grates clean if needed. Grilling in batches if needed, place the wings on the grill in a single layer with space between each one. Cover and grill, flipping every 5 minutes, until cooked through and the skin is evenly browned and crisp, 25 to 30 minutes. About 10 minutes before the wings are ready, make the sauce.

Make the buffalo sauce:

  1. Place 4 tablespoons unsalted butter in a large microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted, 30 to 40 seconds. (Alternatively, melt in a small saucepan over medium heat and pour into a large bowl.) Add 1/2 cup Frank’s Original RedHot Sauce, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder or garlic granules, and whisk to combine.

  2. When the wings are ready, transfer to the bowl of sauce and toss to evenly coat. Serve with blue cheese dressing for dipping and celery and carrot sticks if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.